Meeting with the Governor of Florida

It started with a sheet of paper comparing Kentucky’s potential future economy with Florida’s existing one—their triple-A credit rating, tax reform, a better tort climate, “business infrastructure” and ‘right to work.’ It read like a businessman or woman’s opportunity to thrive in a climate which wanted them there. Or, if not thrive, have a reasonable chance to survive.

Kentucky doesn’t have ‘right-to-work’ laws and its potential economic impact for workforce expansion recently became such a relevant component of discussion that twelve creative counties have taken it upon themselves to change the law. It is now in court being challenged by a coalition of unions that it preempts federal labor law, outcome yet to be determined.

Florida Governor Rick Scott came and met with local and national KY business leaders with decades of legacy in the Commonwealth. With ears, they listened. It was a poignant moment that – when the state government fails to offer viable economic policies to keep its current businesses, secure the ties of legacy industries or have a standard baseline of good economic policies to recruit new business – there is pause of understanding why Gov. Scott showed up like someone who could save the day.

Draconian healthcare laws and excessive litigation …. The landscape for our once-affluent healthcare realm, is it weakening with the recent acquisition of Humana and nursing home companies handing over their keys?

So, I attend a political event a week later and KY senatorial leadership is discussing the real need for good economic policy, including tort reform, ‘right to work’ and workforce development. I bring up the fact that the Governor of Florida met with my CEO and me just the week before. The room heightened in intensity; the words, bullets of consternation.

Could it really happen? Might it take the power of one bold new governor to jumpstart these initiatives in a challenged and often hamstrung legislature? Is it time for a shift where tangible and brisk economic policy is the new fruit to battle the legacy of poverty that eats away at our workforce buoyancy?

In the end, in leaving the event, a senior political leader pulled me aside and said, ‘are you guys thinking of leaving the state?’ And I said, ‘no, we love Kentucky. We moved here because of Midwestern workforce values and the scale of healthcare depth. We want to stay! Be a part of a new healthcare legacy!’

And then the Governor of Indiana showed up the next week, on this side of the Ohio…

Team, if we are ever going to change our future inside the present moment it is now. VOTE!

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